EFG London Jazz Festival 2017 Round Up

  EFG London Jazz Festival 2017

The 25th EFG London Jazz Festival, a 10 day blistering mix of music, spread across the capital this month with over 350 events, taking the best of jazz to its broadest audiences yet.

As with almost every year since its formation, the Festival was launched in style at Jazz in the House, the annual event held in partnership with APPJAG at the House of Commons. Now in its 18th year, Jazz in the House continues to go from strength to strength, bringing together a breadth of guests for an evening that puts jazz firmly on the political and cultural agenda. The night featured speeches from APPJAG co-chair, Lord Colwyn; Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England; John Williamson, Chairman of EFG International, EFG London Jazz Festival’s title sponsor; and Director of Serious and EFG London Jazz Festival, Claire Whitaker. Guests were also treated to a performance from Cherise Adams-Burnett, an emerging artists involved in Serious’ talent development programmes.

Here’s to next year’s EFG London Jazz Festival and Jazz in the House.

One of the world’s largest and most ambitious festivals’ (Downbeat, 2017)

With the 25th EFG London Jazz Festival having come to a thrilling finale, we wanted to share some of the stories and magic with you.  We pushed the boundaries, and stretched our imaginations, to deliver an extra-special birthday year to music fans across the capital, and around the globe through our broadcasts and digital streams.

Musical highlights

Pat Metheny played the Festival for the first time ever, in ‘A gripping two-and-a-half-hour sequence of showcases and duets’ (★★★★☆ Financial Times)

Jazz Voice was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and simultaneously live-streamed via The Space across the major social media networks – so far over 110,000 people across the world have enjoyed the ‘endlessly varied clutch of arrangements, all immaculately played.’ (★★★★☆ The Times) on stream. BBC Radio 3 reaches around 2 million listeners on average per week.

Robert Glasper created a special concert to celebrate the Festival’s birthday, featuring Laura Mvula among a string of stars and ‘ succeeding in uniting and lifting up 2,000 souls in a warm, hymn-like embrace – a moment of emotional fellowship that no one who witnessed it is likely to forget.’ (theartsdesk)– and then packed out a second club show with Bilal, which was arranged at 48 hours notice.

New Music Matters – commissions and premieres

Each year we commission new music from a wide range of artists to infuse the scene with new/innovative work.  This is very much a part of the Festival’s history – since the commissioning programme was set up in 2013 we’ve commissioned over 100 artists to create new work

Seriously Talented, the collective name for Serious’ Talent Development programmes continues to weave right through the festival – this year over 50 Festival performers had taken part in one of our programmes including fast-rising star Zara McFarlane: ‘When she let her voice soar and tumble, scatting here, sliding there, playing with phrasing; she was magnificent’ (★★★★☆ Evening Standard)

The number of commissions and premieres in the Festival this year was over 60 – which included 

Orphy Robinson & Pat Thomas’ Black Top, who created a stunning response to the Basquiat: Boom for Real exhibition in ‘a mind-melting gig, with fascinating cross-medium parallels’(LondonJazzNews)

Terence Blanchard’s orchestral tribute to Herbie Hancock, which was co-commissioned by the Festival, and conducted by Kristjan Järvi.

Forward-thinking British trumpeter Yazz Ahmed sold out Kings Place, launching her new album with ‘impressive vividness and flair’ (London Jazz News)

Trish Clowes’ new work Is This Jazz, performed with the BBC Concert Orchestra to a packed Royal Festival Hall for a family matinee.

Expect The Unexpected was a co-production between the Festival and Club Inegales which premiered 25 new works over two weekends, including pieces by Pat Metheny and Hermeto Pascoal.

You can find more info on our talent development programmes here, and on our commissioning programme here.

Learning & Participation

Learning and Participation work goes from strength to strength within the Festival; the programme this year saw over nine hundred young performers playing to an audience of over 7,000 in 40 events.

Our Next Generation Takes Over programme doubled in size this year, taking over freestages at Southbank Centre and Barbican to showcase the emerging talent and remarkable contribution of young people to the jazz scene.

2017 also saw a sell-out run of Jazz for Toddlers shows with guitarists Heidi Heidelberg and Chris Sharkey, as well as an exciting and fully-booked programme of talks presented by University of Liverpool’s Head of Music Professor Catherine Tackley.

Going global

 ‘Great international festivals such as the EFG London Jazz Festival show that London is open to creativity and to people from across the world.’ (Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London)

 This year, Jazz Voice, our opening night gala concert, was live-streamed for the first time across YouTube, Facebook Live and Periscope, thanks to a ground-breaking partnership with The Space, the Arts Council England organisation working to help reach new audiences through digital technologies.

This enabled us to take the festival to a new and fresh audience – the reach of the performance was staggering, with over 110,000 views so far nationally and internationally and rising fast.  The stream can still be viewed here, and will be available for the next three years

Not only is the audience from round the world, but so are the musicians we bring to London for the festival:

’Jazz’s global influence, is reflected in the programming of the 25th EFG London Jazz Festival – performers from other cultures profoundly affect the current Festival agenda.’ (Guardian)

Broadcast & Film

BBC Radio 3’s commitment to the Festival remains undiminished, with the station broadcasting 18 hours’ worth of coverage this year across four dedicated jazz programmes; Jazz Now, Jazz Record Requests, Geoffrey Smith’s Jazz and Jazz Line-up, as well as in Late Junction and World on 3. From the Jazz Voice opener which was broadcast live with sound provided to The Space’s live stream, through to the Jazz Now gig at PizzaExpress Soho, there was something for everyone on the radio. To tie in with the opening night of the festival, the BBC launched a new website, BBC Music Jazz, pulling together all the jazz content from across radio in a central place for the first time.

Jazz FM took over the Barbican on three days, live-broadcasting their morning shows with a mixture of performances from Festival artists, and various guests and celebrities all dropping by for interviews. Jazz FM also hosted the Hear Me Talkin’ To Ya artist talks programme across the Festival.

International broadcaster Mezzo made three films which will take new music by British musicians across the world for the next five years: the Whirlwind Records concert for the opening night, curated by Michael Janisch, the Festival co-commission by Phronesis and the Engines Orchestra, and a learning project created by Nubya Garcia and the (Im)possibilities Band.

Looking backwards, and forwards to 2018 and beyond…

A book has been published documenting the first 25 years of the Festival, following a year or more of research and writing by Professor George McKay and Dr Emma Webster; you can find this on our website by clicking here – it’s a truly fascinating read. The project was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

We’re already firmly in the planning stages for the future, the 2018 EFG London Festival runs from

Friday 16 November – Sunday 25 November

See you down the front!



Please contact Sally Reeves +44 1223 864710 or +44 7790 518756 | sallyreeves@btinternet.com
Issued by Serious +44 20 7324 1880
For information on all Serious shows please go to serious.org


The EFG London Jazz Festival is produced by Serious, one of the UK’s leading producers and curators of live jazz, international and new music. Serious produces events that range from major concerts, festivals and national and international tours through to learning and participation programmes, conferences and specially commissioned bespoke events. Alongside its core role as a live music events producer, and programme consultants, it works in artist and rights management. Parallel to this exists the registered charity, Serious Trust, which has been established to support the next generation of artists and audiences through our artist development, learning and participation and commissioning programmes.

The EFG London Jazz Festival was created by live international music producers, Serious. The Festival emerged from the long-standing Camden Jazz Week which was created in 1970; with the active support of the London Arts Board (now Arts Council England, London). Serious – who had for some years produced the Camden Jazz Week, engineered a transition that saw the evolution of the Festival.  Taking a mix of international and British artists and a commitment to education activity, the London Jazz Festival began to spread its wings. The aims of the Festival still remain the same today; celebrating the place of jazz in a city which is at ease with its rich cultural diversity, and drawing in a multitude of venues across London who present the music, week in, week out, throughout the year.


EFG International is a global private banking group offering private banking and asset management services and is headquartered in Zurich. EFG International’s group of private banking businesses operates in around 40 locations worldwide. Its registered shares (EFGN) are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange.


Attachments area

Preview YouTube video Jazz Voice – EFG London Jazz Festival Opening Gala Concert

Jazz Voice – EFG London Jazz Festival Opening Gala Concert